Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cajun Food in Korea

My brother Conrad has recently started writing for the new Soeul magazine, The Bridge Paperzine. At the opening party, he won a voucher for a new restaurant in town. Unfortunately for Him, he'd be leaving the country before he'd have time to get around to use it, but this meant he had to give it away to someone who Would use it. When he handed it to me, he pointed out that the valid dates were during Caleb's visit. He smiled and told us to have a good time.

This is how Caleb and I found ourselves noshing on ₩50,000 of food

at The Boiling Crab in Bangbae.

I hadn't called ahead, and, even though I looked over all the information on my ticket many times, I was a little nervous that the voucher wouldn't work. We ordered the ₩40,000 seafood combo pot which the voucher was to cover, and we added coconut fried shrimp because #1- we both love shrimp and #2- if we were sunk and had to pay out of pocket, we might as well make it extra worth it.

I'll remove the suspense and tell you that the voucher did work and we only had to pay for the shrimp. Good thing, too, because there was enough suspense in the meal itself.

I'm told that The Boiling Crab is an American chain, but I've never seen one before. Also, while I've hug around Savannah, GA and have had my small share of low country boil, I'd never seen seafood brought to the table in a plastic bag before. After laying down paper and giving us each a plastic glove, a waiter brought out this bag filled with clams, mussels, shrimp, small conchs and sausages and cut it open so that it spilled out with its delicious red juices and spices. There was also a side of similarly spiced potatoes. Everything was so scrumptious, but we should have brought another person along if we'd wanted to eat everything. The manager had even come over and told us hat they had run out of the corn cobs they usually put into the combo, and would we accept more sausage instead? We told them that we wouldn't have been able to eat either because we were so full, but thank you.

The seafood combo seasoning was the perfect amount of greasiness to taste decadent and to help me through the bit of spiciness. I learned that I don't care for these small conchs, but there was more than enough succulent shrimp, soft mussels, and yummy clams to satisfy. The coconut shrimp were crunchy and tender and every bit of light, sweet and meaty. I'm pretty sure they're going to be in heaven. (Actually, I'm starting to think there's going to be a lot of coconut in heaven.)

This is one of the conchs that were more tough and chewy than I like my food.

It gets better. The staff was fabulous. Caleb noticed a distinct change in their behavior when I took out my camera and starting snapping pictures, And he thinks they got nervous at the prospect of having a reporter at their restaurant. I didn't notice any of this, but I appreciated how waited on us and how they didn't laugh at me when I asked how I was supposed to eat the conch. Also, and please don't take this to sound bratty, but the staff's good English helped me feel comfortable there, too. I knew I could ask questions and that I could let them know if we wanted more napkins without looking foolish.

And then the whole thing was about $8! Can't beat that!

The restaurant's a short way away from any subway stop, but there are some buses that go nearby, and I'd say it definitely worth the extra effort to get there. I'd go again with some friends and hungry bellies do we'd be able to eat as much as we could of all this tastiness.


The Boiling Crab
777-6 Bangbae-dong, Seocho-gu, // 63-5 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea 
(010) 3357.5889
P.s. If you go to the Bangbae location, I recommend taking the bus there, unless you want to cab it, because the nearest subway station isn't very near.  If you do take the bus, Bus 4318 can drop you off at 정금마을앞.  From that station, keep an eye out for this Deli Beans coffee shop on a corner and take that street in until you hit another large-ish street with restaurants and bars and you should be right close.

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